MIG data and the DPA

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Repossession : One Thread

Further to earlier postings, here is the text of a letter received from the IC yesterday regarding whether or not borrowers are entitled to see MIG policy data.

Thank you for your letter of - January 2002, in which you alleged that certain information, about your Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee, was excluded from the material you received from Citibank International Plc in response to your subject access request.

As you may be aware, the Data Protection Act 1998 only applies in terms of personal data, which is defined as follows:

"Personal data means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified- (a) from those data, or (b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual."

I have reviewed the home repossession website and teh discussion referred to in your letter and would like to make it clear that teh Act only allows data subjects to obtain copies of documents which are held as personal data about them. This means that if your Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee is held by reference to the mortgaged property, we cannot compel Citibank International Plc to release it to you.

In view of this, I will now write to Citibank to ascertain how your MIG is stored and why they refused to supply it to you."

My notes for what they're worth: despite the IC's claim that if MIG data is stored by ref to the property, not to the individual, then the borrower is not entitled to see it, surely section (b) of the quote given means it IS in fact personal data, as they can obviously cross-reference the property data with the individual data?

Comments please?

-- Melody (mbc109@york.ac.uk), January 17, 2002


Sounds to me like you are winning.

I think the IC will come back with a positive statement, the MIG must be stored/referenced against you since they hold you responsable for it. Therefore, under the DPA you should be entitled to a copy of the policy document, and all admin concerning the policy as well, in response to a SARN request.

Good Luck.

-- anon (i.hate.abbey.national@another.com), January 17, 2002.

Excellent Melody. Citibank (and all others) will have to really wiggle legally to side-step that argument. The whole crux of the MIG issue lies with the fact that borrowers have to pay for it and are held responsible for payouts under the terms of a MIG. Whether the Lenders like it or not, we must be party to the contract if only by default and are therefore entitled to see the *original* policy. For those of us with older policies, this is very important, as a beneficiary party to a contract cannot sue itself!

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), January 17, 2002.

"Too scared...": I don't understand what you mean by your last comment - about the beneficiary being unable to sue themself - please explain, including why this is particularly relevant to older policies. Sorry to sound so know-nothing about this....

Also sorry everyone for my inability to spell 'the' in the posting above...too long at college :-)

-- Melody (mbc109@york.ac.uk), January 17, 2002.

My way of thinking is this: if the mortgagor's (us, the repossessee's) were in fact party to the older MIG's, which most of know we were (those signed prior to '93 I think it was) then the issue of rights of subrogation can be looked at yet again. Some of us are still being chased for shortfall's under these rights, years upon years down the line. We can now find out if we could be beneficiaries of these policies if you win - i.e. we finally get to see the MIG. If we were in fact party to/beneficiary of the very contract which allows the rights of subrogation to be exercised (the MIG), we cannot be chased for that proportion. The payout due would be paid by the insurance co to the lender on the mortgagor's behalf. The Lender can't then chase the co-beneficiary (us) to the same contract under Rights of Sub can it? It would essentially be chasing itself. Convoluted I know, but it makes sense to me!

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), January 17, 2002.

Crikey! So this could actually halve the alleged debt against me? Wow! I was just doing this as a point of principle on the grounds that people ought to be allowed to see data that has their name on it, and so that I could check citibank's execrable arithmetic skills thoroughly. Maybe I should read through the site again...

-- Melody (mbc109@york.ac.uk), January 18, 2002.

Ah, the consumer penny drops at last.

Remember, knowledge is power, power is knowledge. The DPA is all about the consumer finally getting their rights and stopping the misuse of power by banks and the like.

The DPA is THE best law to ever come out of the UK legal system. It protects consumers, it is the ONLY UK act that actually states that you are entitled to compensation if your rights are violated. (But the route to compensation is a bit tortuous and maybe costly as well)

Here is a thought; If the MIG policies are indeed as described above, and the shortfall debt is reduced as a result, and by taking this DPA tack you are able to obtain a copy of the elusive MIG policy.... does this mean that everybody who has settled in the past, for whatever amount, can now ask for a copy of their MIG policy and then demand a refund?

They would also, if they have served a SARN on their bank/BS in the past, be able to submit an assessment request to the IC complaining that a copy of the MIG policy document was not supplied within 40 days. They have therefore suffered financial loss & distress as a result of this violation of their rights. If the IC upheld this complaint then they would be entitled to a refund of settlement monies paid, plus compensation for losses & distress.

Ahhhh, lots & lots of little IC pennies just dropped.

Good Luck.

-- anon (i.hate.abbey.national@another.com), January 18, 2002.

Unfortunately, there's no way this can be retrospective for cases that have already been settled one way or the other, because once that's happened, there's no need for lenders/insurers to hang on to the documents, so there will be no proof that the wording of the policies was ambiguous. But for current and future claims the implications are enormous. Thanks for all the useful input!

-- Melody (mbc109@york.ac.uk), January 18, 2002.

I disagree (yet again) the Financial Services Act requires insurance companies to retain copies of all insurance documents for six years.

What is at stake here is your rights under the DPA. As such, if they have failed to supply you with all information in response to a SARN, and you have suffered a financial loss (by settling) & you have suffered personal distress as a result, then you are fully entitled to compensation under the DPA; If the IC uphold an assessment request on this issue.

Good Luck.

-- anon (i.hate.abbey.national@another.com), January 18, 2002.

Ok, but surely the insurance company then can ditch the policy docs 6 years from the date they paid out on it? Of course, they won't ditch it while there's a chance of getting some money back through subrogation, but once a final settlement is made, as long as it's more than 6 yrs since the payout (which it normally will be), they will. Moreover, if there's any question of the rights to subrogation being found to be null, it's in their interest to destroy the only evidence of that ASAP. Of course, in cases that were settled in under 6 yrs, and where the MIG is prior to 1993, you're quite right, there might be a loophole. As regards the DPA issue, the thing that worries me is proving distress etc. You'd need to show that the actual situation is worse than the situation would have been if you'd seen the MIG prior to settling, and to quantify how much worse it is. And of course you'd still only be talking about cases settled within the last 6 years. Still, it's an exciting area for speculation...let's all hope the IC sees the point! Thank you again

-- Melody (mbc109@york.ac.uk), January 18, 2002.

They won't ditch anything Melody. Master Policies were large dusty old documents back then, which were amended by "Notes to the Policy" (a legal term) and codicil where necessary. The naughty naughty Insurer's and Lender's know perfectly well that all master policies are always kept in case of future criminal proceedings. 20 years min I believe. The Insurer identifies which master policy was invoked when each MIG was sold, so that multiple copies are not held all over the place. E.G. When you insure your car, the copy you get of the policy is the abriged policy holder copy. Master policy is held at the Insurer's ppob (principle place of business).

-- Too scared to say (iwasduped@yahoo.com), January 18, 2002.

I've just confirmed the insurance statement above with a source at an insurance company.

This is correct, insurance policy documents are kept forever and ever.

Good Luck.

-- anon (i.hate.abbey.national@another.com), January 18, 2002.

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